If you should ever want to know more about me outside of the social media and marketing bubble, I have a personal blog, Something Winnderful. (I’m a fan of my maiden name, if you can’t tell.) I created the blog right after college as a way to continue to develop my writing and as a source for practicing social media and marketing. But mostly, it was a nice little coping mechanism for dealing with the “oh man, what am I going to do now that I’m supposed to be a real adult” trauma that comes with graduation and job interviews.
After a year or so of mostly using the blog as an outlet, I decided it was time to really test out all the marketing and social media knowledge I’d developed and see what I could do with Something Winnderful. I had taken a two month hiatus, I decided to start back with a plan and see how much growth I could manage. Not too long after I started making changes I saw my blog stats ultimately triple. They continued to grow and ultimately my social media following grew too. The steps I implemented are still relevant today and I find myself routinely recommended them to businesses and bloggers So how did I do that? Here are the changes I made and why.
I WROTE MY BUSINESS PLAN.
I used to think business plans were only for people investing a lot of money into a business. This started out as a hobby, why do I need one? I’m telling you right now you need one. Seriously. Do it. It’s not as painful as it seems. Without a business plan you’re moving along in your business without direction or intention. A business plan requires you to sit down and really think through the most important aspects of your business and where you want it to be down the road. There are so many decisions that need to be made when running a business, having a business plan helps you make the right ones that align with your goals.
Extra help: My business plan ultimately became a smorgasbord of many business plans I’d learned about over the years, but Regina has a great resource here. —> click here!
CHANGED MY BLOG DESIGN.
Design is so incredibly important. Gone are the days where anything goes. Now everybody has enough internet experience to know the different between a beautifully and carefully designed site and a “I don’t know what I’m doing but at least it exists” designed site. You don’t need to shell out thousands of dollars on a customer designed site. Sites like Creative Market and Etsy are great resources for premade templates. They are typically easy to install and are customizable. Yes, they will be bought by multiple people, but it’s better than having a bad looking website.
Having a responsive theme is VERY important. Google doesn’t want anything to do with you if you are responsive. AND, most people are viewing websites on mobile phones and a non responsive website is a major pain. They aren’t going to spend time your site because it’s so difficult to do anything.
Extra help: Here’s a quick link to Creative Market’s prettiest web designs. —> click here!
UPDATED OLD POSTS.
After having spent a year blogging, I have finally found my style and formatting. Starting with my most viewed posts, I went through and reformatted to my new style guide. This is important because readers appreciate consistency and because well formatted posts are much easier to read. Most viewers are not reading your entire post. (High fives to you for reading this sentence!) Majority are just reading headlines and bolded sentences. People want to catch the key information and move along.
I also went through and link posts that were relevant. I spent a year creating content, I wanted new readers to easily work their way through my archives with little effort. I went through one category at a time and added links to old posts. You want people to get lost on your website, fall down the rabbit hole, so to speak. Make it easy by showing them where to go next.
Extra help: Sarah Von Bargen recently updated old posts and received 400k more views! —> click here!
COMPLETELY REDID MY ABOUT PAGE.
I looked around at the about pages of my favorite bloggers for inspiration and took to work on my own. It’s still a work in progress, but it now reflects my brand and is more open to sponsors. You can read it and know who I am, what I’m about, and what to do if you want to talk to me.
Extra help: Amy of Hey Amy Chick has an in depth pain free about page workbook to help tell your story. —> click here!
CREATED MORE PINNABLE PHOTOS.
I had spent more time writing content and not much making pretty photos for the posts. Which is no bueno, because pretty photos are incredibly important. Over the past couple years content has moved to very visually focused. Think about your Facebook feed, or hello, Instagram and Pinterest. Great visuals attract an audience. Visuals are also a key component in creating a strong brand. You want someone to see a visual on Pinterest and immediately know it’s yours.
Using Canva, I created branded images in Pinterest friendly sizes (vertical not horizontal). Updating those posts gave them new life on social media. Also, creating multiple versions of images for a post gives them multiple opportunities to be shared on Pinterest.
Extra help: These websites are perfect for creating images and finding free (legal) photos.
EDITED, REORGANIZED AND REFOCUSED PINTEREST BOARDS.
This is beyond time-consuming but has made a big difference. I created a board for Best of Something Winnderful and am pinning my best posts (with updated images) to the board. I also went through bigger boards and split them into more specific categories. I’m still in the process of this next step, but I’m going through my boards and deleting images that aren’t Pinterest friendly i.e. not vertical, not appealing photography. I’m also deleting posts that have no repins and are dead links. Pinterest has changed its algorithm recently and gives priority to pins that meet higher standards, such as, great visual and lots of interaction. The more your Pinterest reflects high quality pins and frequent activity, the more attention Pinterest will allow it.
Extra help: Shameless plug, follow me on Pinterest for the best collection of resources. —> click here!
COMMITTED TO CREATING A COMMUNITY AND ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED ON OTHER BLOGS.
This one is pretty straight forward. I read so many blogs. So. Many. But I get lazy with commenting. I’ve made it a point to actually comment on the blogs I read and sharing my favorites through social media. Participating in linkups and being sure to visit other blogs has also been helpful. After all, isn’t creating a community what it’s all about? People want to feel connected to a brand, whether that brand is you and your blog or your business selling products/services. The internet is not a “If I build it, they will come,” place anymore. You have to build it, maintain it, and interact and reach out to your people.
Extra help: These are my favorite Facebook groups for meeting fellow business owners and bloggers.
DEVELOPED A SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN TO REFLECT MY BRAND.
For someone who has a degree in this particular area I wasn’t really putting it to use. It seemed so silly to do a big social media plan for myself, you know? Once I started applying what I knew though I started seeing a major difference. I will be drafting a specific social media plan to go with my business plan this week and absolutely cannot wait. I love social media plans, so feel free to ask me for any help with your own!
CREATED NEW POST CATEGORIES.
My post categories were all over the place going into the new year. I’m kind of ashamed, but there was a time I actually posted about fashion. I know, it wasn’t my thing. That’s the best part of blogging though, it’s your own personal space and you can write about whatever you want. But once you’re ready to really build a business from it, or blog for your business, you need defined categories that suit your mission. After a year I had found my groove and the topics I really enjoyed writing about. I went through all my posts and deleted (or just made private) posts that no longer fit into my niche and recategorized as needed. Now readers know exactly what my blog is all about and can easily find the posts that relate to their interest.